Have you ever dined at a restaurant or stayed at a hotel because of their “star” rating? What assumptions did you make about the experience you would receive for the premium I assume you agreed to pay? Were your expectations met to the “star” rating?
During a recent business trip, I stayed at one of the most recognizable resort destinations in the U.S. This place has a legendary reputation and of-course, a “5 star rating.” Unfortunately, from the check-in experience (which often sets the tone for the rest of your stay) to the location and quality of the room, to room service, shopping experience, and even their attempt to make up for the “rough start,” was poor at best! By the way, is check-in and check-out times for your convenience or the hotel’s?

It reminded me that similar to business relationships, credentials and repute are earned each and every time. Every interaction is an opportunity for exceptional experiences. In value-based relationships, every interaction is an opportunity to add so much value that they can’t wait till your next interaction! When you provoke, provide a contrarian perspective, or otherwise provide value, they leave the interaction wanting more. When they comment, “I haven’t thought about it that way,” or “that’s interesting; tell me more…” you’ve began to peak their intrigue. When you in fact provide value, ideally that they can not get elsewhere, now you’ve created differentiation. Only when their outcome, experience, results, performance, execution or otherwise recieved and impacted benefits (vs. simply promised or even delivered) are recognized and the fact that you delivered it, will you gain a positive repute.

In short, the “5 stars” are earned one at a time, each and every time, and despite popular belief, they are NOT granted! Make sure you, your team, or your organization never assumes that accomplishment should breed complacency. Customers of all kinds and shapes, always have a choice! So, what are you doing to create “tweetable moments,” with each and every experience you create for your most valuable relationships?

Make it a great week,

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